Record-breaking temperatures headed for the North this week

Warm air is skyrocketing temperatures 15 to 20 degrees above seasonal averages to start December.

Warm air is skyrocketing temperatures 15 to 20 degrees above seasonal to start December

Szotyi the dog strikes a pose on Millennium Trail in Whitehorse. (Submitted by Renata Lendvai)

What month is it again? Oh, it's December?!

Well … you wouldn't know by the temperature forecast, would you? Temperatures are soaring in Yukon and the N.W.T. through the first few days of December, and there are likely to be a few records broken when they do. 

Our weather-maker here is warm air in the upper atmosphere. The jet stream is curving upwards into the territories, bringing with it mild temperatures. This is creating a big change from what is normal through Yukon and the N.W.T. this time of year. 

The jet stream is headed north for the start of December, bringing warm air (yellow) into the Yukon, N.W.T. and Nunavut. (Bradlyn Oakes/CBC)

Potential for record-breaking temperatures

Communities in Yukon and the N.W.T. all have normals well below freezing in December, obviously. Whitehorse's normal for the first week of December -9 C, while Yellowknife has a normal of -16 C. 

So, that's quite the variation when you get temperatures above the zero mark — and it doesn't happen very often.

Warm air is hitting the Yukon and N.W.T. on Wednesday, Dec. 2 bringing temperatures above freezing for Yellowknife and Whitehorse. (Bradlyn Oakes/CBC)

Yellowknife has only seen temperatures above zero a handful of times in December in the weather record. The highest temperature ever recorded in December in Yellowknife was 2.8 C on Dec. 13, 1944. With temperatures looking to get over 1 C on Dec. 2 and 3, there is a possibility of breaking the all-time December high record. 

Whitehorse on the other hand has seen temperatures above freezing quite often in December, but the daily temperature records of 5 C for Dec. 1 and 5.3 C on Dec. 2 are both up for grabs. 

Temperatures start to fall back towards freezing on Thursday, Dec. 3, but warm air is headed as far north as Inuvik, N.W.T. and Kugluktuk, Nunavut. (Bradlyn Oakes/CBC)

Elsewhere, Inuvik, Norman Wells, and Wrigley in the N.W.T. and even Kugluktuk in Nunavut have the potential for temperatures above freezing this week, which would break even more records. 

Warm temperatures leading to messy weather

When temperatures head above the freezing mark in December in the North, things are bound to get messy.

We have rain on the way in the Yukon — and we are also likely to see some melting then icy conditions as things refreeze toward the end of the week and things cool off.